BLU-RAY MOVIE REVIEWS

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Tom Norton Posted: Apr 09, 2007 2 comments

With its computer animated video and up-to-the-minute audio mix, <I>Happy Feet</I> is far more dazzling technically than <I>March of the Penguins</I>. Here we have the same sort of penguins as before, but with a smaller species thrown into the story as well. The life-cycle/survival situation here is the same, but in this film it's a backdrop for the plot. The penguins here are a lot more communicative. They talk, sing, and dance almost constantly. Or rather, Mumble, our hapless hero, dances. While the other penguins sing, he can't warble a single tuneful note. But he's Gotta Dance.

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Joel Brinkley Posted: Apr 09, 2007 0 comments

The Interpreter is a "diplomatic thriller," if such a thing is possible. And, having been a diplomatic correspondent for several years, I can tell you, the thrills, on the rare occasions they can be found, are wholly intellectual. And so it is with this movie. It offers a long, long windup to a fairly tame denouement.

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Tom Norton Posted: Apr 09, 2007 0 comments

Another sports flick about a new coach, a team down on its luck, and a player struggling to succeed. But the variations on that theme are seemingly endless. In the Hollywood vernacular, this one was "inspired by the true story" of a 30-year old substitute teacher/bartender who never played college football but won a shot at a spot on the Philadelphia Eagles roster thanks to an open tryout held by the NFL team's new coach. The tryout was little more than a publicity stunt, but for the player, die-hard Eagles fan Vince Papale, it was a chance to prove himself.

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Tom Norton Posted: Apr 09, 2007 0 comments

The critical and box office verdicts on <I>Flyboys</I> weren't exactly glowing. Full of clichs with the usual assortment of standard characters…the dull subplot about the lonely American pilot falling for a beautiful young French girl…wooden dialog...a decidedly old-fashioned tone. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

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Tom Norton Posted: Apr 09, 2007 0 comments

Thanks to two remarkable films, I've learned more about penguins in the past few weeks than I ever thought I needed to know. The first, <I>March of the Penguins</I> was a surprising hit when it played theatrically in 2005, winning an Oscar that year as the best documentary feature. The second, <I>Happy Feet</I> (review following), won an Oscar as the best animated feature of 2006.

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Tom Norton Posted: Apr 09, 2007 1 comments

<I>A Scanner Darkly</I> may be animated, but take that R rating seriously. This is not a film for the kids. There isn't a furry animal in sight, and certainly no talking penguins.

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Tom Norton Posted: Apr 09, 2007 0 comments

All the clichs are in place. New coach with a checkered past and something to prove. Down-on-its-luck team. Hostile, meddling townsfolk. The big game. You've seen it all before.

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Tom Norton Posted: Apr 09, 2007 0 comments

This 2004 remake of an early 1960s B-picture was underappreciated when it first came out, and with good reason. The original starred Jimmy Stewart. A remake of any film starring an icon from Hollywood's golden age has a very steep hill to climb.

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Tom Norton Posted: Apr 09, 2007 1 comments

I'm not sure how you write a screenplay designed to show the origins if the CIA and its operations up to and including the Bay of Pigs fiasco in 1961. But I'm reasonably certain that no one in Hollywood has an inside track to the straight story, despite research into volumes full of speculation and unverifiable leaks. The true history of the CIA and the details of its operation are not exactly found in the public library or on the Internet, and for good reasons.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: May 01, 2007 Published: Apr 01, 2007 0 comments
Video: 4
Audio: 3
Extras: 1
Before Sam Raimi made his trillions on the Spider-Man franchise, he made a different trilogy of films, starting with The Evil Dead and ending with this classic here. The story follows Bruce Campbell as Ash, who is sucked through time and space to 13th-century England. In order to get back, he needs to acquire the Necronomicon ex Mortis. He botches the job and unleashes an army of undead. If it sounds ridiculous, it is. It’s also hysterically funny. You don’t need to have seen The Evil Dead or Evil Dead II to get this movie, but it sure doesn’t hurt.
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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: May 01, 2007 Published: Apr 01, 2007 0 comments
Video: 3
Audio: 4
Extras: 4
They made a Miami Vice movie with no pastel colors or Jan Hammer? I’m sorry, you lost me. At least there is a Ferrari (a gray one). Michael Mann fashioned this movie like his “gritty” past few movies, such as Heat and Collateral, enough so that it has very little in common with the TV show (at least the good years). Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell do passable jobs as Rico and Sonny, but they can’t save this movie. After 20 minutes, I had no idea what was going on, and not in the way that would make me want to watch more.
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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Apr 13, 2007 Published: Mar 13, 2007 0 comments
Video: 3
Audio: 4
Extras: 3
Oddly enough, I’ve seen this movie a bunch of times, at least in its original form. Kneel before Zod! Most of this movie was shot concurrently with the original Superman, but the producers took it away from director Richard Donner and made it more comic-bookish by putting it into the hands of a new and mostly disliked director, Richard Lester. The punished trio from the beginning of the first movie break free and decide to take over Earth. Superman does what he does and makes Terrence Stamp cry.
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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Mar 09, 2007 0 comments
Video: 3
Audio: 4
Extras: 3
Amazingly, the first time I saw this movie was just a few months ago. What can I say? I’m a Batman kind of guy. Superman is campier than many of the more serious comic-book adaptations of late, but, compared with other comic-book movies of the time (and for many years after), it’s downright somber. It holds up well and is still the quintessential Superman movie. Covering the last days of Krypton to the time when Superman saves Earth from a toupeed Gene Hackman, it’s quite a film. It’s not least recognizable for its excellent score, which earned John Williams one of his 4,383 Oscar nominations.
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Shane Buettner Posted: Mar 03, 2007 0 comments

<I>The Matador</I> is an off kilter comedy that works by expertly playing on the audience's expectations without being overly manipulative. Erstwhile 007 Pierce Brosnan plays the the low down and dirty version of JB, a hit man for hire with very bad people skills. He's coming to the end of his run at the top, and has enough money to retire, but nothing or no one to retire to, not a single friend or any other human connection. While on a job in Mexico he runs into Danny, played by Greg Kinnear, who's also in town on a business trip, albeit ina different line of work! The two strike up as mcuh of a friendship as Brosnan's Julian allows, and inevitably when Julian's bosses decide he's more of a lliability than an asset Kinnear's Danny is the only friend he can turn to for help.

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Shane Buettner Posted: Mar 03, 2007 0 comments

What do you say about a Best Picture Winner? For one, I can say I didn't think it was the best movie I saw in 2006, even though I only saw a handful of movies. I can also say unequivocally that I don't agree at all that this is Martin Scorsese's best movie since the seminal <I>Goodfellas</I> in 1990. <I>Kundun</I> and <I>The Aviator</I> were as good or better. But Oscar had some catching up to do, and did so with a vengeance.

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